The pandemic may not be a direct benefactor to the human species and its efforts to make capital and sustain the lives of a myriad of individuals. But the pandemic gave me a chance to mull over, in solitude, the direction the world is heading vis-a-vis my conscience, my individuality and my intellect.
Through my contemplations in solitude, I’ve come to realise that the State (India) I was born in, and will probably be spending my life in, is trudging towards hating a conscience that is different to the majority opinion. It is clearly against the more intellectual minds just because they have logic to their opinion and do not entice the human vulnerabilities of being conformist and tradition-oriented.
The ‘New India’ — as our Prime Minister, his apostles and their acolytes like to call it — seems to frown every time an intellectual voice pops up in the public space, which is antithetical to its foundation. There is ruckus, noise, a little chaos and a plethora of alleged ‘gang’ euphemisms.
This is notwithstanding a State where the Constitution safeguards the right and liberty of every mind to think, evolve and express its thoughts in spoken or written words. The intellectual and dissenting voices have been plundered to a great extent, compared to the time before the rise of the idea of ‘Akhanda Bharat’.
We are being psychologically manoeuvred to a state of apprehensions and admonitions by a system of manipulators who are using a ruse of alluring sophistries and cunning fallacies to connect the darkest and the most vulnerable parts of the human conscience. They are making us numb to logic and reason because fear kills reason.
Rise in repression in India
Gone are the days when children are taught to be proud of the unity in diversity in India. The ‘New India’ is afraid of diversity of minds, of thoughts, of individuals, of languages and, of customs and traditions that have prevailed over the sub-continent for over half a millennium.
This India is so apprehensive of the idea of a dark and despairing future for their faith, its protectors and their successors that somehow in every voice, different to theirs, they find an admonition and a hostile attitude.
In spite of being the only country that has not acknowledged the steep increase in the repression and incessant slandering of its intellectuals, both by the members of the ruling party and their daunted followers, we have accepted an India that is condescending in its nature with open arms.
A majority of septuagenarians or octogenarians of the state have become obstinate and indifferent in their ideologies and their thought process and their view of the world while the youth with their beliefs in the reality of globalisation and capitalist luxuries, seem indifferent to this New India’s political bubble and its policies.
Only those who are not yet dumb-struck by some lucrative business idea as a means to complacency and luxury or are at proximity to the poverty line and simultaneously read newspapers remain.
However, they are afraid to sing a different tone than their neighbours, community or the authority, because they have been audience to many cases of indictments of minds resembling theirs.
Common people are afraid to speak up
The outright indifference of the supposed proponents of ‘New India’ to social media abuses, threats, unethical defaming and above all, attacks and killings of intellectual minds such as journalists, writers, Nobel laureates, academicians and other champions of their respected line of work is the reason that common people are afraid of speaking their minds.
This continuous phase of curbing freedom of expression and thought policing has mapped a new definition of liberty for ‘New India’ — everyone is free to speak until that voice is not different. Everyone shall express their thoughts until their thoughts don’t exude logic and rationality.
But I’d like to dissent and quote British novelist George Orwell’s definition of liberty — “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
Abdul Wahab is a student of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow